The Peterville Diamond (1943)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Not a great film, The Peterville Diamond is still a much, much better film than one would expect from something which was filmed merely as a "quota quickie." (British law demanded that a certain percentage of films shown every year had to be made in Britain with local talent, hence the proliferation of B-movies such as this.) The basic plot is actually quite a fine one and could have made for an exceptional little romantic comedy. It's filled with twists and turns and mistaken identities, and there's plenty of comic potential. Unfortunately, the writers don't take full advantage of the situations presented. The dialogue is occasionally witty, but it needs a bit more sparkle overall. And some of the comic set-ups simply don't work. For example, the dinner in which the President is constantly ignored falls flat, due both to problems in its conception and in the pacing provided by director Walter Forde. Forde's direction overall could be better; it's never poor, and is occasionally quite good, but it has lapses when it just doesn't quite hit the mark. The cast is solid, especially Oliver Wakefield as the suave robber, William Hartnell as his assistant and charming Anne Crawford as the neglected wife. Still, though the cast is good, Peterville would have benefited from some genuine star power, especially where the role of the husband is concerned.